Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

The sea lion variant of overtourism

By b0oua Jun 8, 2024
News

Two thousand sea lions take over San Francisco’s Pier 39, which is meant to house them, as they arrive to laze around.

In any case, human tourism in San Francisco has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels. However, more sea lions than ever before are swimming in the direction of the city.

2,000 of these chubby, moustachioed animals were tallied in the water this week near the north end of the city’s Pier 39 harbor. It’s 600 more than the previous record of 1,400, according to Sheila Chandor, the harbor master of the marina since 1985. That record was achieved in the early 1990s.

She ignores recent headlines about San Francisco’s alleged fall and breaks out into giggles as she points out that sea lions, sometimes known as sea lions, vote with their flippers. “It’s an invasion!” she exclaims.

A demonstration of sound and scent

The expert on sea lions at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, just over the Golden Gate Bridge, Adam Ratner, is astounded by this “really remarkable” invasion. “Every pier is crowded! It’s something that can be seen and felt.

The reason the sea lions stick around is unknown, however Chandor noted that they were initially drawn to a sizable school of anchovies right outside the Golden Gate. However, we do know that locals and visitors alike are drawn to sea lions.

2,000 heavyweights yelling, snorting, grunting, and plunging themselves into the water create an incredible noise that greets spectators.

Point of interest for tourists

Known for its clam chowder, Pier 39, located near the end of Fisherman’s Wharf, is a well-liked tourist destination in San Francisco, with a carousel, T-shirt stores, and eateries. The notion of erecting floating platforms to encourage sea lions to enjoy the sun (and to keep tourists coming back) originated with the Pier 39 administration thirty years ago.

However, these floating docks are packed these days.

Sea lions are overpopulated, and occasionally they jostle one other—like last week when these aquatic sumo wrestlers flung themselves on top of one another to make room.

The ejected individuals landed on nearby platforms again, one of which is starting to collapse due to the massive 200 kg machines. When a massive man tore out a tap while moving, it was necessary to cut off the drinking water supply to one of the marina’s piers.

The 36-year-old Julian de La Cruz traveled by ferry from Vallejo, California, to show his two small children these large animals. These creatures, which are native to San Francisco, California, are beloved by me. To view them, people travel from all over the world,” he claims.

The 31-year-old Erica Schmierer, who lives in the Castro neighborhood nearby, had never visited Pier 39 until last week. She brought her out-of-state visitor pal with her. She assumed the area was a tourist trap, much like many Franciscans did: “I thought there was only the carousel and shops,” she remarked.

The pandemic, which has devastated tourism and vacated the city core, is still plaguing San Francisco. Like in 1990, a few months after the huge earthquake of 1989, which also negatively impacted tourism, its sea lion population is an asset. The harbor captain, Ms. Chandor, recalls that at the time, sea lions had shown up on the marina’s docks, causing damage and upsetting members who couldn’t get to their boats.

Then, someone at Pier 39 came up with the idea to transfer the sea lions and turn them into a tourist attraction by mooring floating platforms a bit further away. The sea lions have been coming back ever since, albeit in varying quantities.

Off the coast of California, there exist 250,000 sea lions. Their primary breeding area is the Channel Islands, which are close to Los Angeles.

The females congregate there each spring to give birth and care for their young. The males go, trailing the fish they consume. Some even travel to Alaska.

This explains why they go to Pier 39 every spring to take a break from their travels.

Warming of the planet

Mothers and newborns in the Channel Islands, meanwhile, are finding the springtime hard. Hundreds of dead sea lion pups that appeared to have been born prematurely have been tallied by biologists on the shore.

Michael Milstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (the equivalent of Environment Canada) stated that although scientists are concerned about the high number of premature births, which seem to be linked to climate change, they feel the current sea lion population remains healthy. .. Pregnant sea lions must swim further to reach their breeding sites and give birth to healthy pups as a result of fish being driven away by warmer waters.

In contrast, everything is moving smoothly in front of Pier 39. Maybe a bit too much for Ms. Chandor’s preferences.

She believes the men will most likely depart in a few weeks. She says, “Don’t throw any more away; the yard is full,” hoping that there won’t be any more by then.

She emphasized, “Everyone enjoys animal stories; they feel good.” “But there’s only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

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By b0oua

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